Manatee County school officials enlist parents' help fighting COVID-19

When students step back into Manatee County schools, they will be stepping into one of the cleanest environments possible. 

"We are prepared for the worst-case scenario," said Todd Henson, the director of maintenance and operations for the district.

Henson has a set of tools ready to use, including an electrostatic sprayer. It sprays a product that can kill COVID-19 on any surface. 

They have one on hand and two more ordered.  It's already been used at five sites last week after five different employees were diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Custodians and teachers will do extra cleanings with additional supplies and wipes. 

Henson feels optimistic. 

"With doing that, we can put that school online pretty quick," he said. 

PREVIOUS: Manatee County teachers return to changed campuses

The district has ordered a number of different cleaning products for teachers to have on hand in their classrooms. Right now, some teachers already have the products while others don’t as the district waits for those orders to be fulfilled.

But Henson said parents can do their part. 

"It's not just going to be one thing; it’s going to be a multitude of things. It’s the products, it’s the practices. It goes beyond that. We want our parents to model these behaviors at home so our students, when they come, know what to expect," he said. 

That's what Nicole Plummer has been working to teacher her children. Her 9-year-old daughter Lily and 5-year-old son Luke will head back to school at Anna Maria Elementary.  They've been counting down the days with construction paper rings. 

"It's a tough decision for any family and I get that. For our family, I have two very healthy children, thank goodness. They wear their masks like rock stars, they wash their hands," said Plummer. 

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The Manatee County School District is hopeful other students have learned the same lesson at home. 

"It's important to teach your kids now so the teachers are not stressed taking care of 20 kids or more," added Plummer.